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Florida Scientist


Inputs of copperfrom anti-fouling paints presently pose an environmental stress on some restricted embayments of the Indian River Lagoon, Florida. Over an 18 mo period, samples of water, suspended matter, sediments, barnacles, clams and crabs from selected sites along the Indian River and the Eau Gallie River, have been analyzed for copper. Higher than normal copper concentrations were consistently observed in the water column, sediments, barnacles and crabs collected from the Eau Gallie Harbor. Point sources of copper could be directly traced to vessel-related activities. From field data and laboratory experiments on the leaching of copper from anti-fouling paints, an estimated flux of 40 kg/yr to Eau Gallie Harbor was calculated. Up to 75% of the total copper input to the harbor may be retained there. Outside such tributaries along the Indian River from Vero Reach to Melbourne, copper levels were within normal limits.

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